Following the success of the Tuscan Challenge and encouraged from teams and pilots, TVR decided to jump to the high tops of international motorism with a car that would have been ready and competitive for a long and very difficult race such as the Le Mans 24 Hours: the TVR T400R.
In the period between 2001 and 2004 seven units were built with the British GT Championship as the launch pad for the project and the Le Mans 24 Hours as a prime objective.
Race Sports Salisbury (De Walt sponsored) headed by Richard Stanton was the first team which joyned the car to the debut in races taking a class win at Castle Combe (Stanton and Steve Hyde). Rollcentre Racing team purchased the second Tuscan R replacing the much loved and admired Cerbera Speed 6, which had marked Martin Short’s team’s debut in GT racing.
Season 2001: the results
British GT Championship
– Barclays DeWalt – 1 win, 2 second places, 2 third places and 1 pole position
– Rollcentre Racing – 2 wins, 1 second place, 3 pole positions
At the beginning of 2002 Blackpool factory delivered directly on the track the third car in public at the British GT Championship Media Day: a TVR T400R for Eclipse Motor sport. But at that very same event in Silverstone it had just lost a significant sponsor. The solution was obvious – a new Orange Car and a new Orange website. It was a match made in heaven and the car raced for almost the entire season with all-over dailysportscar branding.
It won at Knockhill but was disqualified for a technical infringement. The best of the (then) trio though was still the Rollcentre Racing car: four wins and three second places were to take the Short / Pullan pair to the brink of the title at the last round at Donington Park, before mechanical woes brought an emotional end to a quite stunning season.
In the same period the Rollcentre Racing car took in the T400R’s first ever international race start with a popular (with Japanese fans) and successful run in the Suzuka 1000kms, producing a class podium. Meanwhile, John Hartshorne and Piers Johnson became the owners of the first chassis (of Race Sports Salisbury) and raced it with Peninsula TVR banners. They took a couple of early fourth places in class (image below).
Season 2002: the results
British GT Championship
– Rollcentre Racing: 4 wins, 3 second places, 1 third place, 2 pole positions
– Eclipse Motor Sport: 1 win (but dsq), 1 third place
– Race Sports Salisabury: 3 third places
– Rollcentre Racing: second in class
To be continued to EPISODE 2